More than shiny: Apple is an enterprise firm

They say, "Apple is not an enterprise company", but things have changed -- Tim Cook's Apple is an enterprise company, and here's the proof.

More than shiny: Apple is an enterprise firm

iOS is in the enterprise

Look at the evidence:

  • iPhone is used in 97 percent of the Fortune 500, and 91 percent of the Global 500.
  • iPad is used in 98 percent of the Fortune 500 and 93 percent of the Global 500 firms.
  • 90 percent of tablet activations in corporations are iPads.
  • iOS 7 has received FIPS 140-2 certification
  • Major enterprise deployments include: Accenture, Cisco, American Airlines, Deloitte and GE.
  • iPhone has 59 percent  of the U.S. commercial smartphone market.

Building the base

Now Apple has this beachhead, it must focus on what enterprise users need.

This week it introduced improved tools with which education and large enterprise customers can manage their iOS device deployments. These include provision of pre-configured devices, remote device enrolment and a volume app purchasing scheme. In other words, the company is putting some thought into mobile device management and the requirements of large-scale deployment. There's more to come.

Carl Howe of the Yankee Group, told TechCrunch:

“In many organizations, IT spends much of its time being ‘the department of no,’ where they tell employees that they can’t do things for reasons of manageability or security. By making Apple devices more manageable and being transparent with its security, Apple is helping those IT organizations go from being the department of no to ‘the department of yes.’

Mac beyond mobile

With OS X Mavericks, Apple also improved the Mac's status as enterprise tool. Ryan Fass at CITEworld notes the following enterprise-focused improvements:

  • Improved MDM support and automatic Mac enrollment
  • Apple Volume Purchase Program for App Store
  • Caching server support
  • Improved software update options
  • Support for a broader range of password policies
  • FileVault 2 improvements include MDM integrations
  • Sandboxed plug-ins
  • Application layer VPN
  • Xcode Server centralizes application development
  • FIPS 140-2 certification

These improvements underline that Apple's ambition goes beyond selling iPads and iPhones to enterprise firms, but it is also working to make Mac's more attractive to the enterprise market.

More than shiny: Apple is an enterprise firm

Apple's other product

FileMaker 13 is a huge improvement to the wholly owned Apple firm's databasing solution (which attracts a million new customers yearly). FileMaker 12 was a little disappointing in that the release was all about deploying a file format change to modernize the code. The new version builds on that architecture transformation to boost developer productivity when crafting database-driven solutions for mobile devices, PCs and Macs and the Web.

For example, the ability FileMaker 13 has to proliferate fresh data to all systems currently accessing the information in real-time is rock solid. FileMaker 13 isn't just defined by ease-of-use, it also delivers enterprise-class security, dozens of developer features and productivity enhancements such as a choice of data entry keyboards on iOS.

"We've made it easier to learn and more powerful and productive for developers using it on a daily basis," FileMaker product manager, Eric Jacobson, told me yesterday.

Organic growth

Apple has managed to exploit the popularity of iOS devices in order to improve its wider offering. It now holds a good position within the market, but that's not the end of it.

Tim Cook:

"I think the road in enterprise is a longer one. ... And I think we’ve done a lot of the groundwork as you can tell from these numbers that I’ve given you, and I would expect that it would have more and more payback in the future."

Make no mistake, today's Apple is an enterprise firm. Microsoft may face fresh struggle here.

Google+? If you use social media and happen to be a Google+ user, why not join AppleHolic's Kool Aid Corner community and join the conversation as we pursue the spirit of the New Model Apple?

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Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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